In the last few months our community has been shocked and saddened by three horrible incidents of serious criminal domestic violence.
The murder of a well-loved, hard-working mother in Delburne, the murder of a well-loved, hard-working mother in Red Deer and the murder-suicide of a husband and wife in Eastview leaves us all with a feeling of profound sadness at these senseless acts of murder.
The most shocking fact of these deaths is that they are not believed to have been committed by a gang member or by some unknown killer.
They were allegedly committed by someone who professed to have loved their victim. Domestic violence is a scourge that we can work together to eradicate.
Fighting family violence involves sustained efforts — collaborative efforts among government, law enforcement, and community organizations and members.
The government of Alberta is committed to providing safe communities for all Albertans, including freedom from violence within our homes.
Here in Central Alberta, under the collaborative umbrella of DRVIC (pronounced Dr. Vic), the Domestic Relationship Violence Initiative Committee, more than 30 organizations, from government to non-profit, have banded together against domestic and relationship violence. Participants include Alberta Justice, the RCMP Domestic Violence Unit and the Domestic Violence Court, which fast-tracks family violence court proceedings.
DRVIC is dedicated to providing services to everyone affected by domestic violence: victims, perpetrators, family and pets. RCMP report that they receive on average 40 domestic violence calls per week.
We must continue to break the silence.
It is only by speaking up that we, as a community, can improve prevention, support victims, seek appropriate justice and reduce family violence through specialized counselling for offenders.
We cannot change what has already occurred, but we can approach domestic violence as a community concern that can be resolved.
My colleagues, Cal Dallas, MLA for Red Deer-South, and the Luke Ouellette, MLA for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake and minister of transportation, discussed these and other justice issues at a special town hall meeting with the minister of justice and attorney general for Alberta.
Justice Minister Alison Redford was in Red Deer at the Westerner Chalet on Tuesday for the event. Guests scheduled to be in attendance included Mayor Morris Flewwelling, RCMP Supt. Brian Simpson and Ian Wheeliker, executive director of the Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter.
We look forward to building on the work of these committed professionals to help families escape the cycle of violence, and to help make Central Alberta a safe community where we can live, work, and raise our families.
Mary Anne Jablonski
MLA for Red Deer-North
Minister of Seniors
and Community Supports